Keep laughing till the end

Philipp Plein reveals some of the deeper aspects of his design style in this LUXOS interview

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29 November 2013

“Regret nothing” is one of Philipp Plein’s typically bold statements. A good example of his unconventional and provocative style that hallmarks his garments, accessories and home furnishing range. There are no boundaries: Plein applies his signature skulls, studs and crystals to everything that he does, from leather jackets to guitars and skateboards.

Philipp Plein, born in 1978 in Munich, is steering his brand to global expansion. From his base in Amriswil, Switzerland, he has opened boutiques in many countries, and the brand is enjoying growing success in Russia and Asia, in particular Korea. His boutiques feature a large crystal laughing skull, a favourite motif right from his first collection launched in 2004 which featured Swarovski skulls embroidered onto military jackets.

Mr. Plein, your spring-summer 2014 women’s collection includes a lot of lace. Could you tell us something about how you rework historical motifs of this type?
Lace is suggestive, feminine and there are lots of possibilities to explore when using it. Lace can be combined with any kind of fabric depending on the effect you`re aiming for. It’s kind of a game and I enjoy it.

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In the women’s collection, there is some bright colour, and lots of black and white. What is your approach to colour?
Black and white are the master colours, the basics, the ones that suit anybody. I want women to have fun when dressing up, so I added bright colours to my collection to cheer up the simplicity of the black and white.
 
The women’s collection is much, much tougher than the previous collection, fall-winter 2013, which was more romantic. Is this a reflection on the times in which we are living? Are you optimistic about the future for us all?
The Philipp Plein woman is strong and romantic, my collections are inspired directly by them. Times have always had difficulties and changes, one needs to adapt and be optimistic in order to succeed.
 
A lot of your garments are about contrasts: the skull on a beautiful body in the flower of youth, the f-word repeated three times on a lacy heart; studded shoes with a tuxedo for men, or a black bow tie with a jeans jacket. Do you see this sort of contrast in your own character?
I like contrast, when you mix two opposite things together they have a stronger effect, opposites attract, so they say! 

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Where did the laughing skull motif come from?
The skull is a universal symbol, with many meanings, to me it is not related to death but it means live the life to the fullest, and that we should keep laughing until the end.

You must travel a great deal. In your working day, how do you record the inspirations that you find around you? Do you draw or take photographs, or file things away in your mind?
I take inspiration from many things, and I take a lot of pictures to remember all of them, I’m very aware of the environment around me. And when I see something that really catches my attention I can´t get over it until I see it in my creations. For the fall-winter 2013-14 collection I took inspiration from action movies and books.
 
Do you feel the weight of responsibility, the fact that your messages are observed by young people all over the world?
Fashion has a really strong influential power, so you always have to pay attention to what you do. But smart people understand the irony behind my ideas and creations. Clothes and fashion are a way of expressing yourself, but then it is all about attitude.

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Amongst the countries into which you are developing your brand, are there any that have surprised you as regards the way in which they have reacted to Philipp Plein fashion?
We are getting a great response everywhere, from Benelux to Spain, France, Russia, Eastern Europe and China, and now we are going to the U.S.A.! Probably the most surprising was Korea: when I went there everybody was telling me how much they love PHILIPP PLEIN.

Success in the fashion world never comes easily. What are your qualities that have enabled you to reach success?
Self-confidence, perseverance, an open-minded approach.
 
Apart from your plans for your brand, do you have any personal ambitions that you can reveal? In the fields of sport, art, literature…?
I have a little boy to raise now, he is my greatest ambition!

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We’re sure that Mr. Plein Junior, with his father’s self-confidence, perseverance and refreshingly open-minded approach in his genes, has a great future ahead of him!